February 23, 1998
In the first Tech column published last spring, I had just moved into the Phat Flat, my top floor apartment overlooking Ghent. The theme of that article was that how when we move, the modem is the copper and glass thread that keeps us rooted in a common frame of reference. With another move, this time to a nice condo in suburbia, I’ve found a new spin on that theme. Just around the corner and up the Boulevard from the new condo is the Virginia Beach Central Library.
Talk about being connected! First on the list is a terrific web site at (http://www.virginia‑beach.va.us/services/library/)[old link – no longer working]. There you’ll be able to check and see if a book is in and even read full text magazines, and newspapers on-line with a current library card. Check the list of available software and you’ll find everything from Claris File Maker Pro for Windows to Superpaint 3.0 for the Mac. Of course to use the software you have to actually go to the library. “We have five P.C.’s, two Macs and one exclusively Internet computer donated by the public Television station, WHRO” says Carolyn Barkley, chief librarian. “The public computer room is really heavily used, and it’s a great service to the community.” she adds.
With all these computers in the building and now a big Internet presence I asked Barkley if we would see an end to paper at the library. “Well if it’s anything like my personal life, I would say decidedly not! The more I use a computer, the more paper I seem to generate. But I will say our mission is changing.” Barkley explained. “In the past you would come to the library with a question and we would give you a list of books on hand addressing that particular subject. Now it seems people are just overwhelmed by all the possibilities, especially on the Internet. Our job is now to help you weed though it all.” Barley said.
Either at the library or from home on the computer, each day beings this information based global village closer together. From that perspective the move from Ghent to the beach was hardly noticed.